Education & training opportunities

Find out more about different education and training pathways and see what could suit you.

T Levels

T is for technical. They’re new courses to do after GCSEs and some will be available from September 2020. They’re at the same level as A Levels but are much more focused on getting knowledge and skills to work in a particular industry like digital or finance. They’re 80% classroom and 20% with an employer.

Find out more here

A Levels

A Levels are traditional qualifications where you study some of your favourite subjects in much more depth. They’re very academic and are assessed with an exam at the end. They are the same level as T Levels but you will spend 100% of you time on classroom learning.

Find out more here


BTEC stands for the Business and Technology Education Council. They combine practical learning with subject and theory content. BTEC qualifications are flexible and you can take one alongside (or instead of) GCSEs and A levels in schools and colleges.

BTECs are divided into units, which cover specific areas of knowledge, skills, and understanding of a particular sector or industry.


If you’re not quite ready to apply for a job or an apprenticeship, you can top up your skills and knowledge after leaving school, with a traineeship. It’s like a work placement with an employer with additional training from a college or training provider. You won’t be paid but you’ll be ready for your next step towards paid employment.

Find out more here


Apprenticeships are a paid job with an employer plus structured training with a college or training provider. You’ll spend 80% working and 20% studying. You can do an apprenticeship at any time in your life and there are different levels of difficulty depending where you are in your career.

Find out more here

Tips on applying for courses

If you’re thinking about university or further study, the subjects you choose can affect your future options, so do your research. Also think about how subjects fit together and look at course content.

Contact the college or training provider you’re interested in to see what might be possible. You may still be able to enrol on a course, even if the official deadline has passed.

Colleges will have details of the courses they offer. They often produce a prospectus which sets out details of their courses. Look at college websites or contact colleges directly.

College open days give you the chance to look around the college and speak to staff (and sometimes students too). Open days help give you a sense of the college and what courses might be like - the feeling you get in real-life is often very different from the outside of a building or a website.

Contact colleges or visit their websites for details of open days or evenings.

Colleges may provide details about what their students do next. This can give you an idea about where a course could take you.

Talk to college teachers or course leaders and try and speak to students too. Teachers at school, family and friends may also help build a picture, but remember, it’s important to go with what feels right for you.

Contact the college you’re interested in to see what might be possible. You may still be able to enrol on a course, even if the official deadline has passed.

Tips from employers

Sean Nunn, Branch Manager, Nationwide

“When recruiting, I look for those young people who not only have good interview skills but those who can also draw on different experiences and extra-curricular activities that make them stand out.”

Bill Lovat, Regional Director East, Regenda Homes

“Skills are vital to us, but we truly value the right attitude and the readiness to learn and take on new challenges. What do you want to do, why, and what can you bring to the table?”

Nicola Tyson, Lightfoot, Social Value Manager, Wilmott Dixon

“We always promote work experience as it’s a great way to get an insight into working at Willmott Dixon! If you have spare time, volunteer and get as much experience as you can!”

Andy Lovatt, Managing Director, Digital Advantage

“As an employer and training provider, some of the attributes we look for in young people are: resilience - being able to take setbacks constructively; ambition - a desire to “get on” and make the most of their talents; and a positive mind set with an openness and willingness to learn.”

Callum, PR executive, MC2

After attending Pendleton College in Salford, the opportunity to earn a wage and continue learning at the same time attracted Callum to an apprenticeship.

Joel, HR apprentice, Bury Council

After a year studying computing, Joel realised university wasn’t for him and decided to take an apprenticeship.

What are the top 5 career sectors in
Greater Manchester?

Finance Officer

Job Description

Finance officers help to manage the finances of an organisation by keeping track of its income and controlling its spending. This may include recording financial transactions and producing financial forecasts, arranging payroll, invoices and expenses. Finance officers may also create regular financial reports and budgets.

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Salary Range

£18,500 - £40,000

Working environment

Most finance officers work in an office environment, but you can work in any industry, from banking to creative and media organisations.


Minimum 35 hours a week


The skills and experience you build as a finance officer could enable you to work in many different industries. With experience, finance officers could train to become an accountant or move up to a senior officer role or finance manager.

Marketing Executive

Job Description

Marketing executives promote a company's products, services or brand. They do this through researching customer thoughts and feelings and market trends to inform campaigns. They write content for print, such as adverts and magazines, they organise and promote events and marketing campaigns online and via social media.

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Salary Range

£18,000- £35,000

Working environment

Usually office based.


Minimum 37 hours with evening and weekend work


Marketing executives could progress into management and also cross into online and digital marketing. Other opportunities may include freelancing, advertising, or public relations and communications.

Community Nurse

Job Description

District or community nurses mainly visit patients at home. They can be assisted by nursing auxiliaries who may visit to assist with tasks which need two workers. Their role involves things such as: support for patient and carer after hospital discharge, assist in coordinating care needs and ensuring equality of health care for vulnerable people.

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Salary Range

£23,213- £30,178

Working environment

You could work in a variety of different environments such as clinics and health centres, residential accommodation and patients’ homes.


Minimum 37 hours usually in shifts.


Some nurses feel so at home in a community nurse job that they apply there as a newly qualified nurse. Whichever you choose, there are so many different nursing specialities to explore and career paths to choose from, you will never run out of options.

CNC Machinist

Job Description

Computer numerically controlled (CNC) machinists make precision parts for the engineering and manufacturing industries. Programming the CNC machine tool with data taken from technical drawings, working out the most efficient order to carry out machining tasks, choosing the right tools for each stage, setting the cutting speeds and tolerance levels, operating the machine, checking the work meets quality and technical standards, maintaining equipment.

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Salary Range


Working environment

You could work in a factory


42-44 hours per week, you could work evening/ weekends and shifts


With experience and further training, you could move into a supervisory role. You could also move into quality inspection or become an engineering technician.

Software Developer

Job Description

A software developer talks through requirements with the client and the development team. They take part in technical design and progress meetings, writing or amending computer code, testing software and fixing problems, keeping accurate records of the development process, changes and results, carrying out trials and quality checks before release, maintaining and supporting systems once they're up and running.

Alternative titles for this job include Programmer Software developers design, build and test computer programs for business, education and leisure services.

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Salary Range

£20,000 - £70,000

Working environment

You could work at a client's business or in an office.


37 to 40 hours per week including evenings and weekends


With experience, you could become a senior developer or a project manager, with planning or research responsibilities. You could move into related areas like systems design, IT architecture and business systems analysis.

You could also set up your own business or work as a consultant in most areas of the economy, for example business services, finance, cyber security, telecommunications and healthcare.

Apprenticeships across Greater Manchester

Discover different apprenticeship types, get application hints and tips, and apply for vacancies.

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